LeBron James on James Harden Trade: 'Don't Really Have Too Much of a Reaction'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) takes the ball down the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said Wednesday his attention is devoted to his own team, not outside factors like the Houston Rockets sending James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a blockbuster four-team trade.

"Don't really have too much of a reaction. Obviously trades and things happen every year," James said after a 128-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. "For me, my main focus is on what we do here and how we continue to get better. That was the case today. The trades happened today, and I couldn't allow myself to kinda indulge in that knowing that we had a team that we had to play tonight. So my focus today was on the Thunder."

The Lakers' dominant run to the 2020 NBA championship, which saw them lose just five games across their four playoff series, set the stage for all the player movement since the offseason started. It became clear L.A. was on another level compared to the other contenders.

Brooklyn was a bit of an X-factor as Kevin Durant returned from an Achilles injury that forced him to miss the entire 2019-20 season to team up with Kyrie Irving, though that partnership hasn't gotten much run in the early going with Irving away from the team for personal reasons.

The acquisition of Harden at least gives the Nets the baseline talent level necessary to threaten the Lakers if he's on the floor with Durant and Irving come playoff time.

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James and Co. are still the team to beat, though. The Lakers may not have a third superstar like Brooklyn, but they've accumulated tremendous depth behind the four-time MVP and Anthony Davis, especially with the emergence of Talen Horton-Tucker as another intriguing weapon off the bench.

It's showed on the court as L.A. has raced out to a 10-3 record, the best mark in the NBA.

Davis also commented on the Harden trade after the Lakers' win Wednesday night.

"He got to one of his destinations," he said. "He wanted to play there. We'll see how it goes. I mean, you know, KD and James played together in OKC, and then you add another guy in Kyrie. They lost some key players—Jarret Allen and Caris LeVert—but they look good on paper. We'll see how it goes when those guys get in between the lines and get a chance to play alongside each other."

The first meeting between the Lakers and the new-look Nets is scheduled for Feb. 18, and it wouldn't come as a surprise if they face off in the Finals at season's end.